Parliament has approved a Sh500 million allocation to the National Youth Service (NYS) to acquire more commuter buses to beef up its fleet that started operations in Nairobi last month.
The amount is contained in the supplementary budget II that was approved by MPs on Thursday evening.
“The National Youth Service has been allocated Sh500 million to acquire more buses under the initiative of “Operation Okoa abiria,” Mr Kimani Ichung’wa who chairs the Budget and Appropriations Committee said in a report to the House.
The report was unanimously adopted without debate.
The NYS fleet started passenger service operations in Nairobi amid protests from matatu operators.
The NYS covered nine routes and has deployed 26 of its 29 buses to ferry passengers at a cost of Sh20 irrespective of destination.
The initial areas covered include Pipeline in Embakasi, Githurai, Mwiki, Dandora, Kariobangi, Kibera, Kawangware, Kangemi and Kayole.
Mr Ichung’wa, however, said the committee had reservations on the hurried introduction of the NYS buses without proper feasibility study.
“The Treasury also noted that the objectives of the project are unclear, whether the buses are commercial or just providing community service and indeed whether the function is a national government function or a county government function as per the Constitution,” said Mr Ichung’wa.
Prof Margaret Kobia, the Public Service and Youth Cabinet secretary, early this month told the Senate committee on Transport that the procurement of additional buses will enable the NYS to cover more areas.
“The pilot scheme began with an affirmative price of a flat Sh20 irrespective of distance within Nairobi. The charge is intended to initially recover the cost of fuelling without significant commercial gain and focusing on more vulnerable members of society,” Prof Kobia said.